Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Heart Beats for You... and You... and You

aka: The little girl with the BIG hair

 Looking good with that haircut

Nope, no idea what's going on with the hand

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Somewhere In Between

My poor brain has been through a lot these past five years. Three kids turned into three bouts with Post Partum Depresssion. As I've detailed in this post and this post, it became more manageable with each child, meaning that I recognized the symptoms early and began treatment quickly so that my every day life wasn't nearly as affected as it had been after Braeden. However, just because I understood more about my situation and condition didn't change the fact that my body was fighting every day to regain balance, especially my already overworked, sleep deprived brain. I am generally exhausted while on medication which doesn't help me feel a whole lot better. It takes a toll.

For whatever reason after Maggie, I attribute it to the additional female hormones but I actually have no idea why it happened, I had to begin medication much sooner than with either of the boys. As a result I wasn't sure when a good time to wean off of the medication would be. Do I stop after the usual six months? Do I go six months after she turns ten months old? So many questions and no real answers; just a hit or miss type of process that would hopefully have a successful ending. I wrote a post about my first attempt to get off the medication several months ago. Unfortunately as the title of the post indicated, the timing at that point just wasn't right. I was incredibly disappointed that my journey down this long road wasn't yet over.

Now I find myself yet again rolling the dice to see if I am indeed ready to return to the me I miss so much. My timing again is questionable for a few reasons. I have recently stopped taking birth control pills (I know.. TMI, but I'm trying to be honest and NO, we are not trying to get pregnant) so my hormones are already trying to figure out that change. As a result, because I react so strongly to all medications and adjustments, my mind and body are already in a state of permanent PMS. You wish you were my family right now right? Along with the medication shifts, I also have a craft fair coming up in a couple of weeks that still needs lots of time and attention. And oh yeah, sending Evan to preschool for the first time and Braeden starting Kindergarten. No pressure or anxiety there.. If you think that isn't quite enough to worry about you would be right. We've decided to give our kitchen a face lift (new cabinet doors, counter tops, paint, floor..) in October.

As a result I'm not too sure that I'm giving myself a fair chance to be successful. But I don't wait around when I've made up my mind or second guess decisions. Just ask my boys who had pacifiers and diapers one day and then whoops gone the next. No slow, gradual changes around here. I am slowly weaning off the medication because it would be irresponsible to go cold turkey with that process, but I am determined not to turn back and give in because life seems to be overwhelming me and I might be sliding backwards. God and I had a bit of a chat last night and I laid it all out about how I couldn't do this myself and I really needed His help and would He please just get me through this so that I can finally move on. He hasn't let me down yet, so I'm pretty confident that He'll do His part.

To make this terribly long story shorter.. I am attempting to wean off again because my body and mind need a rest and a burst of energy all at once. It sounds confusing, but without medication I get energy back to live my life and my brain gets a break from the battle between itself and the meds. Granted I once again become wholly responsible for my own mental well-being, but I've been waiting for that opportunity for a year now. I really don't care for living in this in between state and I'm praying that I won't have to for much longer. Fingers crossed that I am a 100% organic, synthetic-free me by the holidays.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lazy Sunday at the Lake

When I was little we didn't take many big vacations. I remember going to Florida one year and visiting relatives in Virginia and Michigan, but we generally kept close to home spending one week each summer at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Outside of that our summers consisted of spending as much time as we could on the boat at a lake closer to home. We were very lucky to be able to water ski, go tubing and swim (before I was afraid of fish biting me) on a regular basis. While my parents still have a boat on that small lake, we don't get that many opportunities to join them anymore. But when we do, the kids get very excited and gather all of their water gear for a day on the lake. Yesterday was one of those days. The weather was perfect, the kids were rested and ready and we had plenty of snacks and food to keep them going. I have much love for summer days on the lake and I hope that my children get many more chances to enjoy in the fun.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Our Whirlwind Weekend of Fun - Day 2

After our adventures in the rain at Mystic Aquarium on Saturday, the weather cleared up on Sunday and brought with it warmer temperatures and a day full of animals, happy kiddos and even a camel ride! Everyone got a fairly good night sleep (except for the mom's - no surprise there), which was a blessing for the amount of walking we were about to do. We started out with the complimentary breakfast at the hotel.

After the adults ate and the kids pushed their food around their plates, we attempted yet again to get a group shot of all the kids. We were determined to get a good one at some point during the weekend. The fireplace seemed like a nice setting, but unfortunately the flash bounced right back at me and taking the picture without the flash is impossible since getting 5 children to stay perfectly still is like asking a snake to walk. 

We then preceded to pack up, lose one set of car keys (which were eventually found), and had the four older kids get into an elevator without an adult and start screaming and crying when they realized they were alone. Apparently a nice lady got in the elevator at the Lobby and rode back up to the third floor with them while Erin and I frantically tried to figure out where they were going to get out. It was pretty good exercise since I was running up and down carrying Maggie. Needless to say they were back in the room with Roman before Erin found them. I'm pretty sure they won't do that again. After all of that fun, we were off to the zoo.

We all loved feeding the deer, except for me because I was the official photographer for both families working with two cameras and pushing a stroller. But I'm pretty okay with not getting slimy deer spit all over my hands and arms. 

My camera battery started flashing red around this point so I had to be selective about the pictures I took the rest of the day. I'm lucky that Erin was taking pictures all day and I can load hers onto my computer too. The zoo just isn't the zoo without seeing the Mandrill's. I always thought they were baboons and I discovered that they used to be until someone verified that there was just enough difference to give them their own classification. And now you know.

We rode the train even though it's a pretty boring ride because with Braeden, you go on every train ride, every where.

We hit up the rides while Maggie watched incredibly patiently.

How about that poof she's got going?
And ended the day riding the camels.

Even though we were all exhausted by Sunday night, it was well worth it. I actually wish I had a picture of Erin and I post trip. I think we would both have been sound asleep by 8:00pm if it had been possible. We all had a fantastic time and made some memories that I hope the kids keep with them for a long time. How often can you touch a stingray and ride a camel in the same weekend? 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Evan's First Day of Preschool

Today is Evan's big day. I can't believe he is already starting preschool. I have been with him almost every single day of his 3+ years so it is difficult for me to walk away and leave him somewhere that is so new to me as well. A month ago we couldn't even talk about school without Evan getting upset and vehemently stating that he was NOT going. After a couple of visits to the school and a home visit from his teachers, it all changed. Thank goodness. He was so excited to go and paint and play in the sand table and with the playdough, etc., etc. I'm so happy that he came around because it's so very hard to leave an unhappy child behind.

Last night I told him he would have to go to bed nice and early so that he would get a good night sleep. After we read a few books the boys had a bit of a debate about school.

E: I get to go to school tomorrow and you don't.

B: I go in two weeks AND I get to stay all day.

E: I get to go paint and play TOMORROW. But I don't sing songs.

I enjoyed some extended snuggle time with Evan when he woke up this morning. I think he was starting to feel a little nervous and I was thrilled to be able to curl up on the couch with him for a few minutes before he headed out to become a big kid in school. It didn't last long though because he needed to eat, get dressed, get his back pack and go! It was pretty early so he played while I showered and when I was ready we headed outside to take his very first "first day of school" pictures.

He was so excited that he couldn't stay still for the pictures. He kept trying to run away and get in the car. I wanted pictures with Roman and I too, but he wasn't having it. I did manage to get one of him and Braeden, but it was seriously all he could do to stand there for those 5 seconds.

His "locker"

Smiling for his teacher 

I'm so proud of my little man. He's come so far this summer and it's his turn to make some new friends and join the great world of education. It's a bittersweet day for me, but a wonderful beginning for him. Today he starts a new chapter in his life. I pray that it's filled with fun, learning, friendship and joy. 

I suppose it's important to note that when we arrived at school, he put away his things, went out to the sandbox and barely said good-bye. I'm assuming that's a good sign of a successful transition. Way to go Evan!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Our Whirlwind Weekend of Fun - Day 1

After several date and destination changes we loaded up the cars and headed out of town on Saturday morning for two days of family fun with our friends, the Thayer's (minus Scott who had to work). We were originally going to stay in Mystic for the weekend, but because we had to reschedule, the hotel we had booked couldn't accommodate us. Soooo... we went to Plan B which actually worked out even better! We started our weekend in Mystic, stayed over night in Smithfield, Rhode Island, and spent the whole day Sunday at the Southwicks Zoo. I absolutely love the zoo so I was very happy that we were able to get a trip in before the summer ended. 
Anxiously waiting to get on the road

The forecast changed daily as to what to expect for weather in Mystic. Originally it was going to be beautiful, then chance of storms, then nice again. However as it turned out, it was raining pretty darn hard when we got there. We stopped at Friendly's to feed the kids and see if it might clear some before we went to the Aquarium. 
I think the kids would have been satisfied with just staying at a hotel and eating at restaurants.

Day 1 - before the exhaustion set in..

The rain didn't end, but our spirits were not to be dampened! We spent the afternoon checking out the gorgeous fish, watching the sea lion show and visiting the outside exhibits despite the rain. It was so much fun to watch my kids get so excited to show their friends all of their favorite things from our last visit. 
The brave ones touching the sting rays

Checking out some fish

Up close and personal with the sharks

The beluga checking out Maggie

When we were sufficiently wet we gave in to the kids requests to head to the hotel. I'm pretty sure we could have simply booked hotel rooms for the night and done nothing else and the kids would have been thrilled. But since we're the go big or go home type of parents, we feel the need to get as much as we possibly can into one weekend. So we hit the road and drove to Rhode Island and stayed near the Massachusetts border for the night so that we would be only a short drive from the zoo in the morning.

If you live someplace like Texas it probably seems insane to drive through three states in one day, but up here in New England we could have left our house in MA on the New Hampshire border, gone to Mystic, CT, to the hotel in RI, to the zoo and home again in 5 hours (if we didn't stop of course). 

We let the kids play for about 20 minutes after we checked in to the hotel and then headed out to dinner. We thought about ordering pizza and staying in but what fun is that when you can go out and drop unbelievable amounts of food on a restaurant floor?
Maggie discovering chocolate milk

Braeden photo-bombing Erin and the kids

A "who can take the biggest bite" contest

Our night ended later than we would have liked with everyone going to bed around 9:30 (even Maggie - Yikes!) They had to go swimming after dinner and then as much as we tried to get them all to go to sleep so that we could hang out and enjoy some adult time, no one was having that so we went to bed right along with them. In hindsight it was probably a good choice since we spent 5 hours walking around the zoo on Sunday.